5 Best Acoustic Guitar Cases in 2021 – From Tanks to Home-Cases

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Best Overall – Gator Cases Molded Flight Case

Protection
Quality
Portability
Value for Money

Summary

This case offers really good value for money…

With a thick layer of universal fit EPS foam padding and a rugged polyethylene hard shell, this is strong enough to be flight-approved.

The thermal insulation of EPS and tight-locking valance of this case helps keep your guitar safe from the extreme elements of a plane’s cargo hold or any other ”edgy” situation.

Plus, extended neck support adds further shock protection to your guitar’s overall structure.

As far as guitar protection prices go, it’s actually less than I would have expected a case of this caliber to cost. And I’d say the security it provides is worth every penny.

If this case feels too expensive, I would check out Gato Deluxe ABS Molded Case from down below.

But if all this sounds good, click the button below to see if this fits your budget, and then come back here to learn more!

5

The Next Best:

Runner-Up – Gator Cases Deluxe ABS 


Our Overall Rating

Summary

The best thing?

Premium protection at the lower price than a premium gig bag!

The Gator Cases Deluxe ABS Molded Case protects against most things the touring guitarist will encounter.

From small-time open mics even to multi-city tours, this is a case I’d trust with my acoustic.

A great choice for hardshell security.

Greatest Protection/Premium – SKB 3i-4217-18 iSeries


Our Overall Rating

Summary

This is a tank.

Although it does cost a lot, there’s no safer case than this.

Plus, with a lifetime guarantee and a minimum lifespan of 10 years, you’ll save money as opposed to if you buy a new budget case every year.

So the price is high, but the lifetime cost is probably lower than with any other case.

Check the price and come back to learn more!

Great for Yamaha Acoustics – Yamaha AG1-HC Hard Case


Our Overall Rating

Summary

A decent balance between price and protection.

In this case is a lining of foam called HardCell, which is shock absorbent, insulating, and moisture resistant as well.

Plus, the foam padding and plush interior give your acoustic protection from small collisions and climate damage.

This is still not the best for a cross-country tour or flying…

But for the occasional gig around town, your acoustic will be safe from minor drops and all manners of scrapes and scratches.

Best Budget – ChromaCast CC-AHC 


Our Overall Rating

Summary

Least safe case here…

Will it protect against dust and dirt? Definitely.

Will it protect the finish against scratches, dents, and dings? Yes!

Will it protect against the occasional fall? ….Maybe?

Not made for extreme protection, but it’ll keep your guitar safe at home and during short trips.

A good case if you’re after something quick and low cost to mainly serve as guitar storage.

This graphic will help you compare these cases:

this graphic includes important specs, features, and benefits from the acoustic guitar cases featured on this article and helps visitors to compare them

Note!

Before you buy any case, measure your guitar to make sure it will fit.

This image will help you with the measurements:

this image reveals How to measure acoustic guitar

Every guitarist benefits from finding the best acoustic guitar case to match their needs. 

No matter how much you practice or perform.

But especially for traveling and gigging, a great case or at least a premium gig bag is a must!

We’ve chosen our 5 favorite hardshell acoustic guitar cases to fit every situation, from protection during international flights to simple storage at home.

Let’s first look at these fine hard cases, and at the end of the post, you can find the FAQ section that helps you to make the best choice possible.

Every one of these cases is here based on extensive research and 27+ years of experience on our team.

Who crafted this post:

Tommy Tompkins Profile Picture 2

Author: Tommy Tompkins

Playing guitar since 2004. Primarily an acoustic guitarist who plays and writes traditional American folk music, with a background in melodic metal and a solid foundation as a bassist.

reveals owner of guitaristnextdoor.com

Editing & Research: Teemu Suomala

Playing guitar since 2009. Mainly focused on electric guitars, although plays acoustics too. Started this blog in January 2020.

Use the table of content to jump to the section you want:

Best Acoustic Guitar Cases

Note!

I recommend checking the ”runner-ups that just missed the top 5”-section too.

Best Overall – Gator Cases Molded Flight Case For Acoustic

Dimensions

  • Interior Overall Length: 41.7″
  • Interior Body Length: 21.7″
  • Interior Body Depth: 5.7″
  • Interior Lower Bout Width: 16.1″
  • Interior Middle Bout Width: 12.6″
  • Interior Upper Bout Width: 12.8″
  • Exterior Length: 44.3″
  • Exterior Width: 18.1″
  • Exterior Depth: 7.6″
  • Weight: 11.83 lbs.

Protection

With a thick layer of universal fit EPS foam padding and a rugged polyethylene hard shell, the Gator Cases Molded Flight Case for Acoustic is strong enough to be flight-approved.

The thermal insulation of EPS and tight-locking valance of this case help keep your guitar safe from the extreme elements of a plane’s cargo hold.

And an extended neck support adds further shock protection to your guitar’s overall structure.

And for non-flight use, this case still offers so much value with price that doesn’t break the bank…well this is hard to resist.

Quality

Unlike weaker ABS plastic, the military-grade polyethylene exterior of the GTSA-GTRDREAD can hold up to some pretty hefty weight.

All the hardware is high-quality and durable. This includes its soft-grip handle and its impact-diverting latch housings.

Keeping in line with international flight standards, this case is made with TSA-approved locks and ATA-molding specifications.

Summary

Pros

  • Recommended for air travel
  • Durable and rugged for long-time use
  • Extra-long neck cradle prevents snapping and detachment

Cons

  • Not indestructible
  • Can be crushed by huge amounts of weight

No case can totally guarantee damage-free travel for your acoustic, but the Gator ATA Molded Guitar Case comes pretty close. 

In extreme tragedy it can only do so much, but overall it’s definitely one of the best acoustic guitar cases for travel of all kinds.

As far as guitar protection prices go, it’s actually less than I would have expected a case of this caliber to cost. And I’d say the security it provides is worth every penny.

Who is this for?

If you want the best value: protection ratio possible and/or want a case that you can fly with, this is one of the best choices.


Runner-Up – Gator Cases Deluxe ABS Molded Case

Dimensions

  • Interior Overall Length: 41.7”
  • Interior Body Length: 22.1”
  • Interior Body Depth: 5.3”
  • Interior Lower Bout Width: 16.1”
  • Interior Middle Bout Width: 12.3”
  • Interior Upper Bout Width: 12.4”
  • Exterior Length: 44.3″
  • Exterior Width: 18.5″
  • Exterior Depth: 7.4″
  • Weight: 9.04 lbs.

Protection

When you and your guitar are road companions, the Gator Cases Deluxe ABS Molded Case is a great choice for hardshell security.

It’s with a molded EPS foam interior that cushions your guitar on all sides. So, this GC-DREAD acoustic case is several steps above the more basic plywood+plush options.

On the outside is a super water-resistant plastic (ABS) that creates a shield against moisture, punctures, scrapes, and basically every threat your guitar might face from gig to gig.

Quality

This is the lowest cost case I’d recommend for extensive touring. 

Once you hit the level of musicianship when you’re playing out several times a week, you need a case this good to insure your instrument’s safety.

With a strong aluminum valance reinforcing the GC-DREAD, I wouldn’t hesitate to toss this case in the back of a packed van for a cross-country trip.

It’s important to know that Gator Cases does not recommend the Deluxe ABS Molded Case for flying. The plastic shell can’t hold up to the dangers of airline cargo handling, and its locks aren’t TSA-approved.

Editor of Guitaristnextdoor.com owns this case and states that it’s all that he needs for his home and short trip protection.

displays Gator Cases Deluxe ABS exterior & outside
This case is protective but doesn’t offer a high-quality feel.
Teemu’s Fender is well protected in this Gator. The cutaway dreadnought shakes just a little when the case is closed.
Accessory storage is really handy and has room for everything you need on the road (extra strings, picks tuners, etc.)

Summary

Pros

  • Dependable hardshell protection at gig bag prices
  • Designed for hardcore road use
  • Available in several different sizes

Cons

  • Plastic exterior can crack under extreme pressure
  • Doesn’t offer really high quality feel

The Gator Cases Deluxe ABS Molded Case protects against most things the touring guitarist will encounter. From small-time open mics even to multi-city tours, this is a case I’d trust with my acoustic.

Best of all? It costs even less than a premium gig bag!

As a bonus, it’s available in several different sizes, including Dreadnought, 12-string, Classical, Jumbo, and Mini. So, your chances of finding the perfect protective fit are pretty high with this deluxe case.

Who is this for?

If you travel(no flying) with your guitar a lot and want a case that keeps your guitar safe and sound. Can handle touring and works as guitars home protection too.

Check Price on:


Greatest Protection – SKB 3i-4217-18 iSeries Waterproof Acoustic Guitar Case

Dimensions

  • Interior Overall Length: 41.25″
  • Interior Body Length: 20.25″
  • Interior Body Depth: 4.5″
  • Interior Lower Bout Width: 16″
  • Interior Upper Bout Width: 13″
  • Exterior Length: 45.12″
  • Exterior Width: 19.45″
  • Exterior Depth: 8.34″
  • Weight: 23.58 lbs.

Protection

SKB builds cases to actual U.S. military specifications because, well, they make cases for the U.S. military.

Their 3i-4217-18 iSeries Waterproof Acoustic Guitar Case follows these same strict specs and provides the best protection of any case around.

It’s hardcore inside and out, made of injection-molded polypropylene copolymer resin.

The interior is lined with plush and shaped to fit most dreadnought acoustics, and that’s only scratching the surface of this case’s features.

In addition to its ultra-protective shell and inside, it has a self-regulating pressure valve. It basically creates a stable environment in the case and makes your guitar almost invincible in air travel and more.

Quality

You can read the military specification (MIL-C-4150J) for this case in full here.

In short, it details the rigors this case has to stand up to. These are things like UV resistance, drop-tests and impact-resistance, fungal-resistance, and water-resistance.

It’s kind of an amazing list of tests this case has passed. It covers basically everything you could ever worry about, and a lot of things you might never think of.

It even says how long this case must be useful for, which is actually 10 years!

As a matter of fact, SKB provides a lifetime warranty for their cases, so if anything does go wrong, you’re covered.

Summary

Pros

  • Follows military specs for water-proofing, durability, and more
  • The highest-grade protection available
  • Top-rated for flight and all other travel

Cons

  • Extra-high cost
  • Heavy

Although it does cost a lot, there’s no safer case than the SKB 3i-4217-18. 

Plus, with a lifetime guarantee and a minimum lifespan of 10 years, you’ll save money as opposed to if you buy a new budget case every year.

For pros with invaluable instruments or anyone serious about protection, this SKB iSeries Acoustic Guitar Case is the safest hard case for your six-string.

Who is this for?

If you want the best protection money can buy. Great for protecting expensive acoustics.


Great for Yamaha Acoustics – Yamaha AG1-HC Hard Case

Dimensions

  • Interior Overall Length: 43.5″
  • Interior Body Length: Not available
  • Interior Body Depth: 5″
  • Interior Lower Bout Width: 16.25″
  • Interior Upper Bout Width: 12”
  • Exterior Length: 45″
  • Exterior Width: 17.75″
  • Exterior Depth: 6.75″
  • Weight: 10 lbs.

Protection

Yamaha’s AG1-HC strikes a decent balance between price and protection.

This guitar case is actually manufactured for Yamaha by Access Bags and Cases. 

Specs on the AG1-HC are hard to find, but it’s based on the Access Stage One Dreadnaught Acoustic Guitar Case. So, protection between the two is similar.

In this case is a lining of foam called HardCell, which is shock absorbent, insulating, and moisture resistant as well.

Although the frame of the AG1-HC is made of rather weak plywood, the foam padding and plush interior give your acoustic protection from small collisions and climate damage.

Quality

So with cases around this price range, you usually find this plywood construction. It’s good because it keeps your guitar safe from dings. It’s also lightweight, and as a low-cost material, is a big part of what makes them affordable.

But, plywood isn’t a strong material. It can be crushed and punctured by falling equipment like speaker cabs or drum kits.

On top of this, there have been complaints that this case often ships with damage. And, like other lower-cost cases, Quality Control sometimes lets defective models slip through the cracks.

Summary

Pros

  • Provides snug protection with HardCell foam
  • Strong molded handle
  • Extra padding at bridge and neck

Cons

  • May ship with damaged parts
  • Doesn’t fit all standard dreadnought shapes

You probably wouldn’t want to take the HC-AG1 on a cross-country tour, nor fly with it. But if you’ve got the occasional gig around town, your acoustic will be safe from minor drops and all manners of scrapes and scratches.

Just make sure you measure your guitar before you buy this case! It’s specified for Yamaha models like the FG and CPX, but it does fit other brands. 

I’ll say it again because it’s important: before you buy any case, compare your guitar measurements to make sure it will fit.

Who is this for?

If you own a Yamaha acoustic, this is made for them. If you got the occasional gig around town, this case is enough.


Best Budget – ChromaCast CC-AHC Acoustic Guitar Hard Case

Dimensions

  • Interior Overall Length: 43”
  • Interior Body Length: 23”
  • Interior Body Depth: 5”
  • Interior Lower Bout Width: 17”
  • Interior Upper Bout Width: 13.25”
  • Exterior Length: 45”
  • Exterior Width: 17.5”
  • Exterior Depth: 6.25”
  • Weight: 10.05 lbs.

Protection

The ChromaCast CC-AHC is, to say the least, not the safest case on this list.

  • Will it protect against dust and dirt? Definitely.
  • Will it protect the finish against scratches, dents, and dings? Yes!
  • Will it protect against the occasional fall? ….Maybe?

Here’s where it gets murky. Nowhere on ChromaCasts’s website do they mention what type of padding is used in their Acoustic Dreadnought case.

Frankly, it doesn’t look like there’s a lot, if any.

They do make a point of saying it’s got a Black Plush lining. Honestly, I think this might be the bulk of the interior protection.

So, should you trust this case to keep a $4000 Martin safe on a 3-transfer flight? Heck no!

But, it’s really an alright case if you just want something to keep your acoustic in at home. 

Basically, if your guitar doesn’t have a rough road ahead, the CC-AHC can shield it from day-to-day damage.

Quality

As the budget option, you know you won’t find the highest quality, but there’s at least a minimum of durability in the ChromaCast.

It’s got a Tolex exterior. This is a water-resistant vinyl material that helps save your guitar from moisture.

It’s not totally waterproof since water can get in at the rivet points and elsewhere, but it’s not bad.

The case is mostly plywood, which keeps it lightweight. With its plastic handle, it’s actually a pretty comfortable case to carry around.

You wanna be careful though, because it’s been said that the handle isn’t attached very strongly and can break off after a while.

Summary

Pros

  • A very affordable hardshell
  • Basic protection for beginners
  • Case exterior protected by chrome bumpers

Cons

  • Not very safe
  • Quite weak construction

The ChromaCast is a good case if you’re after something quick and low cost to mainly serve as guitar storage.

It’s not made for extreme protection, but it’ll keep your guitar safe at home and for short trips.

For beginners or anyone on a budget, it’s hard to find a better inexpensive hard case than this. 

Who is this for?

If you want a cheap case to protect your acoustic in-home and during short trips. Great for beginners.


Verdict

I think every case on this list has its niche for certain types of guitarists, but the Yamaha AG1-HC is the least appealing to me.

It doesn’t offer much more protection than the budget option, and I’d feel better about it if it were more durable.

Overall, I think the Gator Cases Molded Flight Case is the best option for the greatest number of players.

If you’ve invested any significant amount into your guitar hobby up to this point, you’re better off protecting it with a high-quality case like the GTSA-GTRDREAD. 

In the long run, this case will pay for itself while ensuring your guitar stays safe.


Runner-Ups That Just Missed The Top 5


Buyer’s Guide

Do I Need a Hard Case for My Guitar?

Honestly, if your guitar never leaves your home, you’ll probably be fine with a gig bag in most cases.(that sounded weird…haha)

But when travel presents any kind of harm to your acoustic, a hardshell case is the safest way to go.

Gig bags will keep your guitar safe from dirt, dust, and moisture while offering some guard against crashes and falls.

The best acoustic guitar cases cover all this and much more. So if you really want to keep your guitar secure when you take it on the road (or in the air), a good hard case does a much better job than a gig bag most times.

How to Pick the Right Case for You

The first thing you need to do is MEASURE YOUR GUITAR. The image at the start of the article will help you to do that.

Acoustic guitars come in all shapes and sizes, and these hard cases tend to fit tight. You need to make sure you buy the size case.

A case for a dreadnought won’t fit a jumbo guitar, and a concert guitar will fit loose in a dreadnought case.

Often, you have different size options for each case model, so measure your guitar and check it against the case dimensions before you make any other decision.

Wherever possible, I’ve listed measurements from the manufacturer’s websites to make your cross-checking easier, and you can see the general dimensions of different acoustic body shapes here.

After you’ve made sure your guitar will fit in the case, you can purchase according to how much protection you need.

Check the ”runner-ups that just missed the top 5”-section for great options for different acoustic guitar body shapes and types.

If you usually play at home and only take your guitar on the road occasionally, the lower-cost options are usually good enough.

If you are an intermediate to professional player and are depending on your guitar to take you from show to show, you’ll want a case with a higher standard of protection, like the Gator GC-DREAD.

I recommend buying a case that has accessory storage. It makes carrying your picks, strings, tuner, etc. a lot easier.

Also, most, but not all, cases have some extra room for electronics of the acoustic guitar:

photo reveals how some acoustic guitar cases have extra room on interior for electronics of a acoustic guitar
Gator Cases Deluxe ABS has plenty of room for electronics.

So if you have an electric-acoustic to carry around, it’s wise to look for a case with room for electronics. Especially with the cheapest cases with minimum protection, knobs of the pickup system can get too much pressure when your acoustic moves inside the case.

Interior Protection – Fluffy Lining

The fluffy lining is my personal favorite. It offers good shock absorption. And even if your guitar moves a little inside the case, it’s still well protected.

photo displays soft and fluffy interior lining of the Gator Cases Deluxe ABS
The best fluffy linings gently press against the guitar’s body and do a great job protecting it. (Photo is from Gator Cases Deluxe ABS)

With good quality fluffy lining, you have to drop your guitar from really high to damage it. And even if the case and the guitar are not the perfect fit, it protects your guitar well.

Aim for Good Snugly Fit

You don’t have to go crazy with finding ”the perfect fit”, but you will definitely need a good fit.

Here are a couple of photos that highlight how a good fit looks like with Gator Cases Deluxe ABS and Fender Dreadnought with a cutaway:

photo reveals what good fit with Gator Cases Deluxe ABS and dreadnought cutaway looks like
Nice snuggle fit on the low end.
photo reveals what good fit with Gator Cases Deluxe ABS and dreadnought cutaway looks like 2
Fit is not tight, and the guitar moves just a little when the case is open. But when the case is closed, there’s almost no shaking at all.

Wooden VS. Molded Plastic Guitar Case

First, wooden cases are usually not TSA or ATA-approved. So if in search of a case to fly with, Molded Plastic cases are pretty much your only option.

When it comes to weight, both wooden and molded plastic cases are pretty close to each other, as you can see from the comparison graphic at the start of this article.

But I personally prefer Molded Plastic cases, because the good quality ones are more durable and can take more beating. I also like the ”less-edgy” shape of Molded Plastic Cases.

After that being said, wooden cases are still good for home storage & protection or for occasional gigs and travel.

Wooden guitar cases are usually covered by:

  • tweed,
  • black vinyl,
  • leatherette,
  • or even real leather

These are usually durable but can be torn by sharp objects. Especially if bad quality leatherette or tweed is used, the exterior can be torn easily. That’s why I would avoid the cheapest wooden guitar cases.

Flying With Acoustic Guitar

Finally, you need a flight-approved case if you’re planning to take your guitar on a plane. 

Sometimes you can get away with actually having your guitar as a carry-on, but if it’s going in the cargo hold, make sure you get a TSA and ATA-approved flight case.

Conclusion

From the comfort of your home to the rockin’ and rollin’ gear-stuffed tour bus to the skies themselves, the best acoustic guitar case will shield your guitar from all forms of mishap.

These are cases for every player, and no matter your safety needs, there’s a case here for you and your treasured acoustic.

I wish you all the best and keep rocking!